The Singing Skies: Routine and War
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CD / Digital
Images by Frances Barrett
The Preservation label presents Routine and War, the debut album from Sydney’s The Singing Skies. The Singing Skies is the songwriting project for Sydney musician Kell Derrig-Hall. His first solo venture, Kell has previously contributed to records and live performances for the likes of Jack Ladder, Rand and Holland and Seaworthy. On Routine and War, Kell stands front and centre with a presence built on old-school simplicity. Spare, disarming and open, these songs flower slowly with plaintive guitar at their core, often with a country lilt or a spellbinding, serpentine feel. Kell’s stark and soulful voice is buoyed by the achingly beautiful harmonies of Lia Tsamoglou, who also provides warm, enveloping keyboard sounds throughout. Now otherwise known as pop artist Melodie Nelson, Lia is Kell’s long-term partner and collaborator, the pair previously engaging in more experimental realms as Moonmilk. Also integral to Routine and War are its string arrangements – both stirring and touching – from Biddy Connor, (Laura Jean, Grand Salvo) lifting and weaving through lyrics that by turns prove haunting, piercing and gentle in spirit. Other guests include Laura Jean on piano and Laura Jean Band percussionist Jen Sholakis. Routine and War was recorded by Simon Grounds in Melbourne, who also produced the seminal early works from Underground Lovers as well as albums by Grand Salvo and Laura Jean. In balancing subtlety with passion, Routine and War finds a rare poignancy. It is a delicate, intimate and most affecting debut.